Notices for Sunday 4th January 2015

The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighbourhood. We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son. Generous inside and out, true from start to finish.
John 1:14 (Message)

Help us Father God to not just see the baby in the manger, but to see Jesus, God made flesh.

We welcome our preacher this morning who is Rev Neville Pugh
After morning service tea hosts Chris and Joan

Organist: Joan McGowan

Sunday 11th January
11.00am        Preacher      Rev Richard Sharples (Baptism)
Vestry Stewards – Ian and Avril
Door Steward – Bob
Buffet Lunch in Hall (everyone invited)

Diary Dates

Mon 5th        Every Day with Jesus Bible Study in Lounge 10.30am
Wed 7th       Art Exhibition Stewards Training Wrexham 11.00am
Thu 8th        Art Exhibition Stewards Training Wrexham 7.30pm
Tue 13th       Art Exhibition Stewards Training University 2.00pm
Wed 14th      Midweek communion at Regent Street 11.15am
Wed 14th      Bible Study at Avril’s home 7.30pm
Mon 19th       Art Exhibition opening event at University 4.00pm then at Regent Street at 6.00pm

Please pray for the following:
Richard Down
Phyllis Davies
Isobel Holroyd
Ernest Tait
Maurice Anderton
Ruth Hodson
Vanessa Woolrich
Kay Davies

All those who care for those in need.
We thank God for answered prayer and ask that he helps us to understand that all things do work together for good.

Christmas Cards
£100 was donated in lieu of Christmas cards. Thanks to all who gave. The Christmas Day service collection amounted to £50. The total of £150 will be donated to Hope House Children’s Hospice.

70thOur best wishes
Joan McGowan
Thursday 8th January

No Plastic Jesus Here, The Word Became Flesh
John 1:1-18

We had our “Christmas in the Barn” again this year.  The weather was a little warmer and so the crowd was a little bigger and there were a number of children present with us — ranging in age from 18 months to maybe seven years.  I called them to the front after I read the Christmas Gospel — up close where they could get a closer look at the pair of goats and the pig and a couple of miniature donkeys.  And the manger.  Of course, the manger.

We have a life size wooden manger we keep at church.  For eleven and a half months it is stored away, but it gets pulled out every year at this time, of course — first for the Children’s Christmas Program and now for our barn service. Gerry had come into town earlier in the day to pick it up and deliver it. The straw stays in it year around. The blanket had been left from the Children’s Program a couple of weeks ago.  And nestled into the straw was a plastic doll —- meant, of course, to remind us of the baby Jesus.

The little ones gathered around as we pointed out pieces of the story represented there that night, for we were in an actual barn with animals and all the associated sights and sounds and smells.  Indeed, I think they were probably more excited about the proximity of the live animals than by our plastic approximation of Jesus.  Even so, I noted that one of them — probably four or five years old — with a sense of wonder and curiosity that children sometimes show— was reaching in to touch our baby Jesus’ eyes.  I’ve seen small children do this with actual babies, too.  They go for a most vulnerable place —- closing the eyelids — even as this little one did this Christmas Eve.

I didn’t get the chance to ask, but I have to believe he didn’t think this baby Jesus was real. Even so — everything else in the barn was real that night, so maybe he thought this was, too?  Maybe in some small way he wondered if this could be real, too?

It is, of course, the first wonder of Christmas and one that carries throughout Jesus’ life here on earth.  He was human.  He was flesh and blood —- real — like you and me with all of its wonder and all of its frailty.

For this human flesh will not last as long as that plastic baby doll we placed in the manger on Christmas Eve.  (I’m told that given the right conditions, that one’s life span could be indefinite!)    In fact, even as I write this afternoon, I find myself remembering an old song called “Plastic Jesus” which was recorded in the early 1960’s.  You can look up the lyrics or listen to it sung elsewhere online, but here is the Wikipedia summary.  If you haven’t heard it before, it may be helpful to know that it was ‘inspired’ by a radio station in Del Rio, Texas in the late 1950’s “which was run by a dentist and religious fanatic who sold the most outrageous stuff imaginable, all with magical healing properties.”  It is a spoof, of course, and speaks to our certainty that inanimate objects in and of themselves cannot protect us or save us.  At least not in the way Jesus — the Word become flesh —did and does.

And so it is that we pause here on the far edge of the Christmas season to marvel once again that “the Word became flesh.”  With all of its risk and all of its promise, Jesus became one of us.  No, this is no ‘Plastic Jesus’ — even if we have to use such as that to represent him in a barn on Christmas Eve.  This Jesus lived like us, as we did and do.  Oh, just think of it: God stooping to this for you and me! And of course, you and I who know the rest of the story know exactly what happened to the ‘Word become flesh’ who lived and died among us.  That, of course, is the greatest wonder of all!

Rev Dr Janet H Hunt, First Lutheran, DeKalb, IL, USA


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